Frequently Asked Questions

Starting NWs and becoming members:

What do we need to apply for Accreditation as a NHW?

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The following documents are required:
  1. NPO Certificate/NPO Registration / Affidavit
    1. A copy of the NPO Certificate or a copy of an NPO Registration letter or an Affidavit confirming that the NHW Structure is not operating for gain
  2. Functionality
    1. Proxy letter, authorising the applicant (person who is applying on behalf of the NHW Structure);
    2. A copy of CPF endorsement letter or statement stating co-operation by Neighbourhood Watch Structure;
    3. A copy of SAPS endorsement letter or statement stating co-operation by Neighbourhood Watch Structure;
  3. Compliance Standards
    1. A copy of the signed-off Constitution (of the NHW);
    2. A copy of the NPO Certificate / Affidavit;
    3. A copy of the branding / Logo(s) & Insignia;
    4. A copy of the funding model of the NHW;
    5. A copy of the Patrol Activity / incident Report;
    6. A copy of the Account Statements for the preceding 12 months or the period that the Applicant has been in existence if applicable;
    7. An indication of the method of communication i.e. Social Media, Two-way radios etc.
  4. Maps
    1. A geographical map which identifies the boundaries in which the Neighbourhood Watch Structure operates;

How long will the accreditation process take?

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The process can take up to three (3) months (90 days);

Who can start a NHW?

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Anyone.

Whose permission is needed to start a NHW?

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No-one’s.

Who decides who may join a NHW?

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It’s a group decision, between residents.

Who decides what a NHWs’ boundaries are?

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This should be negotiated, with one’s neighbours, including one’s neighbouring NHWs.

What happens if two NHWs have a dispute over “territory”?

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Work hard to work it out. We all have the same purpose: to make our neighbourhoods safer. This common spirit should ensure we work it out.

Can NHWs raise their own funds?

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Yes.

Do NHWs have to have their own bank accounts?

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In terms of Section 6 of the Western Cape Community Act of 2013, yes it is required that each NHW has its own bank account and must have three signatories i.t.o Section 38 of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA), before transferring any funds to an entity within or outside government, obtain written assurance that the entity Implements effective, efficient and transparent financial management and internal control systems.

Will NHWs receive funding from government?

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Yes. Once you are approved for Accreditation, you become eligible to benefit from the Department. In terms of the benefits, you will qualify for training (which is free of charge) and funding as determined by the Department of Community Safety.

NHW powers (Explained in the new “NW Code of Conduct”):

What powers do NHW members have?

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The full rights of citizens of this country, and only those rights.

Can NHW members make arrests?

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Yes, the NHW member has the same power as any ordinary citizen to conduct a citizen’s arrest, only Schedule 1 offences i.t.o the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 ie. robbery, murder, rape, house breaking, assault gbh, assault committed in their presence, theft etc. in the presence of a police officer.

Can NHW members place white lights on their cars?

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Yes, they can use white lights, however the lights must be static, strobe lights can only be used when they are standing at the scene.

Can NHW members use vehicles?

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Of course vehicle patrols are allowed. We do encourage NHW’s to abide by the rules of the road.

May NHW members carry guns?

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South Africa has specific gun-ownership laws. These must always be followed.

NHWs & CPFs:

Do NHWs still report to CPFs?

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Different organisations have different roles. NHWs have specific roles. So do CPFs. All share the common vision of safer neighbourhoods, so healthy relationships are essential. Yes, CPF’s do have a role in terms of Section 6 of the WCCSA is oversight to ensure that Neighbourhood Watches abide by the law and to manage healthy relationships between communities and the police.

Do NHWs have to take orders from CPFs?

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NHWs enjoy the rights of all citizens. They need to do what they need to do strictly within the law. The law is what NWs must obey. Remember, we need to understand CPFs’ precise mandate, which is oversight and good relations.

Can CPFs tell NHWs what to do?

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CPFs don’t have any direct control over NHWs. If a NHW or any NHW members are breaking any law, the CPF should certainly tell a NHW of its concerns. And, if necessary, report any illegal behaviour to police.

What are CPF’s powers WRT NHWs?

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The CPFs play an essential role in “oversight” over the police in terms of the Police Act. They monitor the police, and help the police enjoy healthy relationships with communities. This means they need to ensure relationships between NHWs and the police are healthy. NHWs and CPFs both share the same vision – healthy and safe neighbourhoods.

NHWS AND SAPS:

Do SAPS have to work with NHWs?

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SAPS is committed to assisting all residents.

Do NHW members have to log on with SAPS before they go on patrol?

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If it’s possible, it would be a great courtesy if they inform the police when they go on patrol, but they don’t need to first have the permission of the police, because sometimes it’s not possible. All residents should try to work in partnership with police, whenever possible.

May SAPS tell NHWs what to do?

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SAPS may give citizens legal instructions, especially in dangerous situations.

May SAPS ban a NHW, or prevent their members from patrolling?

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Only if they are breaking a law. The Constitution gives residents very specific rights, including the rights of free movement, and freedom of association. NHWs are active citizens who care about safety. There is no reason to break any law.